Good to Great

My vision for St. Pauls Lutheran Church.

I presented this at a  church service that St Paul’s had at the LSA back in 2005.   There were about 1,000 in attendance.  It is written as a speech. 

The 10 windows in this book are pretty simple---but very profound and helped me realize this Church Doctor guy does get it.

This book asks some tough questions---like

Do you major in the minor things?

Are you willing to “Go Public” with your faith?

Do you trust God’s abundance?

Page 98, second paragraph says, “Somewhere the idea has developed that the Pastor is there to serve them”.  Maybe this Church Doctor has been around our church a lot longer than we think because there is no more willing a servant than our Pastor Wray.

I know he is not perfect and needs God’s grace in certain areas but could we ask for a better leader for our church?

According to our mission statement, his vision as the coach of our St. Paul’s team is to grow committed, passionate disciples who minister daily to our unchurched friends in the Decatur area.  We will love them into a mature relationship with Jesus through relevant worship, bible teaching, and small group study.  WBGL Radio has a similar vision and I love how they say it, “so all will know Him and those that know Him will know Him more”. 

Have you ever seen this book called  “Good to Great”----those of you in the back have probably still never seen it.

It says one of the hardest things to do is take something that is good and make it great.  It says enduring great companies (and churches) preserve their core values and purpose while their business strategies and operating practices endlessly adapt to the changing world. 

Pastor Wray doesn’t have us do this stuff to be mega church—his ideas of new and different ministries are not to satisfy his own ego, he is trying to take us from good to great.

I am not sure if any of you have noticed this but Pastor Wray is not as young as he used to be—with all his talents, he can only minister to so many people.  If we are going to go from good to great, it is up to all of us to do the work of ministry.

Do we need a great church?

In this windows book, it says, “The world at its worst needs the church at its best”. 

This book calls for you not to be members of this church.  This book calls for you to be a disciple of this church.  Think about disciples in the Bible.  Disciples aren’t spectators.  Disciples are equipped to do the work of ministry.

So I ask each and every one of you—what is your ministry?  And how are you going to equip yourself to do it?

This isn’t a very original thought, but ask not what your church can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your church.

God has not gifted us all the same way as He has gifted Pastor Wray, but we learned in the 40 days of Purpose that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Are you letting God fulfill that plan?

What is it that you do well?

What is it that you have a passion for?

How do you use that to benefit the church and accomplish the great commission?

Look around for a minute at all the people here.  Could you imagine if we were all on the same page—working together for the good of the team.  If everyone here could reach “Just one more for Jesus”.  We are going to need a pretty big roof to cover that group.

My vision for Decatur

This appeared in the Herald & Review in January of 2010.  It was my response to being asked how I envisioned Decatur. 


I envision a Decatur that is known as the service capital of the world.

I had the privilege of representing Decatur when it was known as the softball capital of the world.  The first women’s Olympic softball team had strong ties to Decatur.  New Zealand kids used to grow up dreaming of playing here.  When we travelled to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Palm Springs, California, Decatur was always the talk of the softball world.  Even Hector Torres defected from Cuba for the chance to pitch here in Decatur.

What else is Decatur known for?  On a city data website, a Chicago man was quoted, “ Decatur is a medium-sized rust-belt city.  It has seen better days since industry went overseas and/or became mechanized.  What remains is a tired old city without a particular sense of purpose.”

Somehow, we have become a society that thinks we deserve things.  We deserve a good education, a good job, a nice house and a new car.  Today, our government even says we deserve free healthcare.  One way to differentiate Decatur is for us to become a town that is focused on “serve,” rather than “deserve.”  A hundred years ago, most jobs had to do with the farming industry.  Today, only 3% of jobs do.  Just like we had to adjust to this change in work style, today we have to adjust to an environment where most jobs are service related.  If Decatur can become known as a city that is here to do whatever it takes to be of service, it would be our best bet for attracting quality companies and becoming a vibrant city with a vision.

I would love to see every sign in Decatur display “we are here to serve you,” and then prove it!

Build the Home, Change the World

Build the home, change the world.  We believe that Decatur would be a better place if we got back to traditional family values.  We would like to see kids growing up in homes where they are receiving love from both a mom and a dad that have established a stable home together.  Where the kids get introduced to reading and writing at an early age.  They learn from proper discipline and the parent’s example, the basics of being a good citizen - to not cheat, lie or steal, to not whine, complain or make excuses for their actions.  

Each day they wake up and are thankful that they get to live in a country with the opportunities and blessings of the USA.  By the time the kids get to high school, they have developed good habits in their eating, studying and work ethic. They have so much invested in their studies and their chosen sport or extracurricular activity that it is easy to say no to drugs, alcohol, sex and other immoral behavior that could put them behind the 8 ball as they go forward. 

After establishing a way that they can make a living for the rest of their life, whether that be as a professional athlete, a college graduate, or working their way up the company ladder, they save up some money before finally deciding to marry their long time sweetheart.   After a few years of honeymoon,   it is now their turn to be the parents and pass on the traditional family values that they were taught.  

Obviously we are all going to make mistakes as we travel down this road.  But it is important that we establish what is the right and wrong path so we know if we are headed in the right direction.